Thai ingredients are the core part of Thai cooking. It is very important to know the basic qualities and how they are used characteristically. I would like to share general usages, medicinal properties and basic qualities of Thai ingredients commonly used in Thai cooking.
Without knowing what they are and how they are used, it might be a little confusing especially ones who never try Thai cooking before.
Herbs and Spices
Cloves - Kan-plu - The brownish dried buds of cloves are scented and usually have a slightly spicy flavor. In the old days, it was commonly used to be chewed with betel nuts because of its aromatic scent.
If you want to add cloves in curry, it is often best to dry roast on a pan then blend into powder. Clove powder is traditionally used to make a fantastic massaman curry.
Medicinal benefit: Clove properties are to be used as remedy for indigestion and can even help toothache. It’s branches are rich in calcium and phosphorus which helps maintain bones and teeth strong.
Thai Curry Pastes
Thai Curry Paste in Thai is called "Nam Phrik Kaeng" or "Phrik Kaeng" or "Krueng Kaeng". Most of the curry pastes are available internationally such as red, panang, massaman, green and yellow curry pastes.
The core Thai ingredients in all curry pastes are garlic, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime skin and leaves, dried and fresh chilies, shrimp paste and shallots. Besides adding these basic ingredients into each curry paste, spices may be added for its distinctive flavor and scent.
Daikon - Hua pak kard kao - Daikon is also called Chinese radish or Oriental radish. It is enormously used in Asian cooking. Its flavor is mild and sweeter than other radishes. In Thai cooking, it is most popular for making soups or a based ingredient for noodle soup.
It is also used to make sweet or slated radish pickles, one of important Thai ingredients for Pad Thai noodle, boiled rice soups or a stir fried sweet radish with egg. It can be stored for a long time in the fridge.
Salad Ingredients & Salad Dressing
Thai Chilies – Prik-kee-nu - The key ingredient of Thai cooking is chili! Thai chili is also known as Bird’s eye chili. It is much spicier than other chilies used in Thai cooking.
It can be used in Thai salads as an ingredient, simply chop finely. When uses as a dressing, simply crush or pound together with garlic with mortar and pestle and follow each recipe instruction.
Rice and Noodles
Egg noodles - "Bami or Bami Lheung" has many different types and varies in sizes. This egg noodle is yellow due to egg and wheat flour ingredients.
The small and thin egg noodles are great for soup noodle dishes while the thicker egg noodles are perfect for stir fried dishes.
Oyster Sauce – Nam man hoi - This key ingredient is made of oysters or oyster extract. It is excellent with all stir fry dishes with vegetable and meat or without meat. The best quality oyster sauces should have a distinct oyster scent.
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